Immigration stalemate looms before talks even begin

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared a month ago that he wanted to work with Democrats on immigration, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said McConnell hasn’t raised it with him once. A Republican aide said meanwhile that Democrats have made no outreach to McConnell on legislation that can pass both chambers and be signed into law. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and McConnell have yet to discuss immigration.

When the issue briefly came up in Trump’s meeting with the Democratic leaders last week, they quickly stalemated, with Trump calling the border “a disaster” and Pelosi countering that comprehensive reform was needed, according to an aide.

It’s a familiar, if frustrating, dynamic to veterans of the immigration wars on Capitol Hill. And this time, lawmakers can’t agree on what the central immigration issue is, much less how to address it. It’s a microcosm of why so many efforts have failed, and why action is even less likely ahead of the 2020 campaign.

While Cornyn argued that his bill with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) to deal with an increase in border crossings could avoid being weighed down like previous efforts, Durbin said Democrats simply must address the plight of Dreamers if the issue of immigration comes up.

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